Does Vitamin D Increase Risk of Skin Cancer?

A group of researchers conducted a new study which shows a possible link between high levels of vitamin D and skin cancer. The study was conducted by Melody J. Eide of the Henry Ford Hospital of Detroit and several of her colleagues. Their study involved looking at 3,223 white subjects who were at high risk of developing skin cancer.

The subjects had all asked for advice pertaining to the development of osteoporosis 10 to 15 years before the study was conducted. Therefore, their serum was on file, showing they would make great subjects in the study. The team decided to look for a correlation between vitamin D and skin cancer.

After selecting the patients for the study, Eide and her colleagues divided them up into separate groups. They were categorized based on their 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, which signified how well their bodies brought in and stored vitamin D. Those in the lower 25% were not at nearly as high a risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer than those in the upper 25% of the study.

The study had a lower margin or error because it involved looking at patients’ long-term medical records. Jennifer Stein of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center said that it was better to rely on medical records than patients’ memories.

The researchers also used the HMO database to search for instances where patients were diagnosed with problems associated with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. The patients they studied received follow up appointments over an average of 10 year years. They found 240 patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer. They also found another 212 who suffered from either squamous or basal cell squamous.

Four out of five of the subjects developed the cancer in areas that were regularly exposed to sunlight. This showed there was a high probability that sunlight was a precursor to skin cancer.

While the study highlights the obvious link between exposure to sunlight and skin cancer, the effects of vitamin D need to be studied in more detail. The authors actually claimed the linkage between vitamin D levels and skin cancer was inconsistent. They reported the findings with the argument that more research was needed to understand the relationship in more detail.

Dr. Stein says that patients who take vitamin D supplements should not stop doing so solely on the findings of this study. She says that people need vitamin D to stay healthy. Stein says it makes a lot more sense to get vitamin D from a healthy diet than from sunlight. Although the correlation between sunlight and skin cancer is pretty clear, the relationship between vitamin D and skin cancer is not.

The study Eide and her fellow researchers came up with may help a lot of people fight skin cancer in the future. The most important thing is to remember the dangers associated with spending too much time in the sun. Whether or not vitamin D leads to skin cancer has not been fully determined. The link between UV rays and skin cancer has been clear for many years.


Kalen Smith

Kalen Smith is a professional Internet marketer, consumer researcher and writer. He has been a writer for Weight Loss Triumph and is the cofounder of the blog Great Paleo Diet Cookbooks, where he writes about the paleo diet and lifestyle.

5 thoughts on “Does Vitamin D Increase Risk of Skin Cancer?

  • August 26, 2011 at 1:03 am

    No offence but that was a nothing comment Joyce.
    The comment before sums the study up perfectly.
    Vitamin D is Vital to the human immune system.
    Excessive sun exposure will most likely cause skin cancer.
    Excessive vitamin D is only a result of excessive sun exposure and not a cause of skin cancer…

  • August 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    This article mentions a link between large amounts of Vitamin D and extra sun exposure to skin cancer. Moderation in all things should take the worry out this announcement.

  • August 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

    An individual who is overexposed to sun will develop skin cancer as a result of ultraviolet light damage to sun-exposed skin cells. As an entirely separate result of the sun exposure, the same individual will acquire a higher level of Vitamin D since ultraviolet B rays trigger production of Vitamin D in the cholesterol layer just under the skin. The two effects have nothing to do with each other directly. The study should have addressed this issue explicitly. Anyone wishing to separate these two effects can use Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements to safely raise their Vitamin D3 levels without as much sun exposure. We’ve all seen joggers wearing hats, dark glasses and gloves on a hot day; they are avoiding skin cancer. Unfortunately, unless they take Vitamin D3 supplements to acquire some vital Vitamin D3, they are going to die very young, not perhaps of skin cancer, but of some autoimmune disease like high blood pressure, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis or congestive heart failure, or, of some cancer such as colon, breast, bone or lung cancer, all associated with low levels of Vitamin D3. What doses do you need to maintain good Vitamin D3 levels without sun exposure? Turns out it’s a lot. 5,000 iu daily of Vitamin D3, available cheap from Wal-Mart, Costco, most drug and health food stores. If you have good medical insurance you can request a 25(OH)D blood test. The result you are looking for is 50 ng/ml (some tests report this level as 125 nanomoles/liter). 50 ng/ml means your body has pretty much all the Vitamin D3 it needs in order to provide most of the desirable outcomes associated with high Vitamin D3 levels. Levels up to 100 ng/ml are acceptable. Levels lower than 30 ng/ml are not. Kaiser Permanente, a respected HMO, sets the normal range for Vitamin D3 levels at 30-100 ng/ml. You will gain years of life, simply by keeping your Vitamin D3 levels high. Make sure your calcium (1000 mg), magnesium (500 mg) and zinc (10 mg) levels get their daily minimums. These minerals are uploaded by Vitamin D3 and help Vitamin D3 carry out its work in the body. Eat a high-fiber diet, balance your bean and cereal proteins, avoiding meat when possible, get exercise (in the sun is great) and drink lots of water. Temperance and trust in God makes sense, too. God bless.

  • August 24, 2011 at 6:17 am

    hahaahha good thing i have dark skin which white guys like it i am naturally have skin brown which i am proud of because every white guys i see i heard they say WOW.and i just smile to them.

  • August 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

    So, do not get too much exposed to sun for vitamin D, there is a risk of cancer.
    I think anything in excess is risky. Simple substances such as glucose of water in excess can cause medical problems, than why not vitamin D, which has side effects.


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